Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Untitled Series: Fragrance Detection & Appreciation of Pure Juice

Chandler Burr, the curator of The Department of Olfactory Art at New York's Museum of Arts and Design, the scent editor for GQ magazine and the former scent critic for The New York Times, is creating a project on OpenSky that’s never been done before. He’s bringing scent to life online.  It’s called the Untitled Series.

On the 1st of every month Chandler will choose a perfume that’s already on the market – some famous and some from niche collections.  From this scent, he will remove all marketing -- no bottle, no package, no brand, no name and will put the scent in a 50ml lab bottle – allowing you to experience these scent works as scent and nothing else. He will give shoppers only the guidance of his carefully chosen words to understand each and determine if the fragrance is right for them.  His goal is to both enable and encourage shoppers to rethink perfume as a work of art, free from all visual cues and marketing techniques. Scents include those from the late 19th century to last week, in all styles and all by the greatest scent artists in the world.  

There will be only 100 bottles available in the series, this month (the amount might slightly vary from month to month). The first fragrance called S01E01 (Season One Episode One) and will launch this Friday, June 1st on OpenSky and the identity of the scent as well as more about the artist who created it will be revealed to shoppers on the last day of June.  The series will continue with a new launch on the first of every month and a subsequent reveal on the last day of each month. 

pic via marthastewart.com


  1. noetic owl19:32

    I love this idea! I have become so disenchanted with the perfume industry due to the numerous number of releases,flankers, exhorbitant prices that I really have not bought anything nor worn anything commercial for several months now. I would love to be able to appreciate a quality perfume without the hyped up advertisements and names attached to it (which causes these fragrances to be completely out of my budget). Although I would be curious as to the price of these unlabelled 50 ml. bottles- if they are above $100.00 USD I do not think I would consider purchasing. I miss the 70s and 80s when my meager pre-teen/teenage allowance allowed me to purchase affordable beauties (ELs, Channels, etc) which sold in department stores and not exclusive boutiques for over $200.oo a bottle.

  2. MariaA20:06

    Great idea! Will this be available only in the US?

  3. NO,

    my understanding is that these should be already circulating perfumes without the bells & whistles. Logically this would mean a lower price-point than normal. Of course this is just a theory.

    I know what you mean about prices. Imagine that SL now seems sane by comparison with other niche brands price-wise.

  4. M,

    unfortunately yes...
    But who knows, we might convince someone locally to do a similar project ;-)

  5. noetic owl23:10

    Oh,gosh! Do you remember the days when you could get a gorgeous perfume for under 50 dollars? I sure do! I have worn over 400 perfumes in my lifetime and many were available and affordable to the masses! I have recently found a few niche/indie brands that can still work within a tight budget- Ineke, 1000 Flowers and Sonoma Scent Studio.

  6. NO,

    I used to save my pocket money for perfume and true enough, I did get some glorious perfumes that way. Everything changed after 2005 I believe when discussion of perfume online showed that there is a vast market of people willing to pay and pay dearly for "good" perfume. Niche firms got carried away totally, equalling high prices with high quality in their ad copy (not so in every case, obviously).

    You're absolutely right on the indie brands, they do need our business and they're still sanely priced to reflect their toil rather than their pretence. ;-)

  7. noetic owl17:28

    I just ordered a bottle from Open Sky and the price was most definitely reasonable. I read that each bottle will be the same size (50ml) but have different prices that will be relatively close to the actual price of the original bottles. At the end of the month the mystery is revealed and the regular bottles will be sold on Open Sky. Supposedly the first scent evokes the feel of a lemon when it is peeled so it should be a great summer scent. And if I don't love it my mum or dad would be happy to take it off my hands :)

    This looks like a really fun way to try something new and mysterious every month! As long as my budget allows I may be doing just that!

  8. A ha!

    Sounds very interesting! I wonder what it could be. Knowing Chandler, I wonder whether this is Terre d'Hermes or something along those lines. It's pretty cunning that it's only revealed after one has a chance to really wear it for a long time. So as not to influence them...
    Sounds like a great plan on your part!

  9. noetic owl19:43

    Has anyone participated in this? Just received the bottle. I was mistaken in my orginal assumption-no lemon but rather a skin scent. If I did not like it I was going to gift it to my dad but after wearing it liberally for two days I have heard not a word of complaint from both perfume hating co-worker and seasonal allergy hubby (both of whom have prevented me from wearing conventional fragrance for the past two months) so it will be a keeper. Soft, feminine,subtle, lightly sweet-I guess I lucked out with this one! Am curious as to what other commenters think as this whole venture has caused much controversy!


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